Aboriginal humour has carried people over many an abyss. Meeting Aboriginal people on ‘Koori Time’ usually means you have to wait.
Aboriginal Australia has a great history of resistance and a great history of humour.—Shane Howard, musician 
Humour is part of being Aboriginal
One of the key characteristics of Aboriginal people is their humour. No matter how dire the situation Aboriginal people are always able to find a humorous way of dealing with their life.
“When I looked around at all the carnage of our cultural abyss, I saw so much courage and so much laughter,” says Aboriginal film-maker Richard J. Frankland . “One of the fundamentals of survival when life is knocking you about is laughter.”
Aboriginal filmmaker Angelina Hurley, who wrote a PhD on comedy in film making, agrees. “We’re actually really funny people. We don’t sit around just talking about politics most of the time; instead, we’re telling yarns with our aunties and uncles and making fun of ourselves.” 
Hurley’s debut short Aunty Maggie and the Womba Wakgun had almost instant success upon release.
Aboriginal humour is different
Aboriginal humour is different to mainstream humour. “We’ve got different stories, we’ve got a different brand of comedy,” says Kevin Kropinyeri, an Aboriginal comedian from South Australia .
But he acknowledges that it takes time to translate black comedy across the cultural divide for a white audience. “Put me into an Indigenous crowd and I can just be me. With a non-Indigenous crowd you have to explain things. It’s just about the wording you use and being more clever with your delivery.”
Hurley believes that many Aboriginal messages are more accessible to a wider audience if they are told through comedy rather than serious documentaries .
The flip side of tragedy is comedy. We've been laughing at ourselves for generations. What we ask is: laugh with us, not at us.—Kevin Kropinyeri, Aboriginal comedian 
Aboriginal comedians include Mary G, Sean Choolburra and Kevin Kropinyeri.
Professor Gordon Briscoe, a man from the Marduntjara/Pitjantjatjara peoples of Central Australia and an Aboriginal activist, researcher, writer and teacher, said when talking about the Aboriginal housing situation:
“We have not yet got to the point of putting solar energy on our roof because many of us don’t even have a roof.”
Here are some more Aboriginal jokes and sayings:
- What the TAB called by Aborigines?—The Koori Bank (because many Aboriginal people love to place a bet, but lose their money).
- Where ever there is a will…there’s relatives! (Aboriginal saying)
- One of the best things I think I’ve probably got is my community degree because that’s what you need in black community, not a university degree. .
- “It’s true I’m married to a Koorie [Aboriginal person from Victoria] girl, I’ve got the scars to prove it.” - Kevin Kropinveri 
- “They say that behind every successful black man is a very jealous black woman.” - Kevin Kropinveri 
Fact: “Talking about laugh…” is a verbal precedence or ending used frequently by Murris (Aboriginal people from Queensland) when telling their rendition of a funny story or event .
A lot of typical Australian humour actually derives from Aboriginal humour, but the nation doesn't acknowledge the Aboriginal element in our make-up.—Nigel Parbury, author and educator 
Our survival has been about laughter, otherwise you cry a river.—Leah Purcell, Aboriginal director and actor 
Comedic storytelling… deters us from the dysfunctional repercussions of our Aboriginal/Indigenous lives caused by colonisation.—Angelina Hurley, Aboriginal director and writer 
A silent conversation with your face
Aboriginal director and writer Angelina Hurley recounts a silent form of Aboriginal humour .
“When something nurrigar or womba [strange] happens, I want to look straight at another countryman for that look you know. That silent conversation you have with your face. You now, it entails a lot of eye rolling, eyebrow lifting, lip biting and pursing.
“Mostly when you don’t want another relative to know you’re gossiping about them, running them down or making fun of them. It can also (depending on circumstance) be accompanied by sound, eg. a grunting or humming.
“I have one cousin back home who is the queen of this phenomenon. She cracks me up without speaking a word.”
Australia’s only Aboriginal comedy competition
Deadly Funny is Australia’s only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedy competition. It started in 2005 at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival before spreading to Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales in 2011.
Previous winners are Kevin Kropinyeri, Shiralee Hood, Mia Stanford and Denise McGuinness. The competition offers comedy workshops, and established comedians travel to Aboriginal communities to help emerging comedians shape their stories and jokes into a stand-up performance.
See also Aboriginal festivals.
Some of the most tragic things in life can be funny to us, I think that's what makes blackfellas so versatile and resilient.—Sean Choolburra, Aboriginal comedian 
Aboriginal people have a different understanding of time than white people. They call it Koori Time or TI Time (for Thursday Island in the Torres Strait).
What they mean is that an Aboriginal person is probably not on time as you would expect or estimate differently compared to a whitefella. Russell James puts it well when he talks about his Aboriginal friend Clifton Bieundurry :
“I’d say, ‘Well, how long to get there, mate?’ And he’d say, ‘Oh, just a little bit, 10 minutes’, and two hours later we’re still driving. I had moments of having to get out and run abournd in circles and scream alound in the desert.”
Last updated: 8 January 2013 | Out of respect for Aboriginal culture I use Indigenous sources as much as possible.
 'Murundak', Sydney Morning Herald, 31/12/2007
 'The Funnyman', Koori Mail 469 p.21
 'Humour from tradgedy', Koori Mail 512 p.64
 '2 of us - Russell James & Clifton Bieundurry, Good Weekend, 7/11/2009 p.12
 'Broad range of topics covered', Koori Mail 516 p.30
 'Talk about laugh!', Koori Mail 517 p.22
 'Staying Black!', Koori Mail 520 p.21
 'Practical jokes', SMH 12/09/2009
 'Mirth in the message', SMH 16/4/2011
Related articles & resources
Articles and resources related to "Aboriginal humour":